Anti-Hunter/Animal Rightist Political Action Committees (PACs)
One of the most effective methods the anti's have to promote their legislative initiatives against hunting, breeding, entertainment, meat eating, or any other use of animals is through their political action committees (PACs), of which the largest and most visible at the federal level is now the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF) PAC. Its members include The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), The Fund for Animals (FFA), Farm Sanctuary, ASPCA, Doris Day Animal League (DDAL), Animal Welfare Institute, The Ark Trust, Animal Rights Foundation of Florida, and others. DDAL and FFA merged with HSUS, making the latter the wealthiest and best organized of the animal rights advocacy groups. A HSUS employee has always directed its associated PAC. Currently
Michael Markarian, chief program and policy officer for HSUS, also serves as president of FFA, and president of the HSLF where he oversees the lobbying and political activity.
In addition, a host of smaller state PACs also network, lobby legislation, endorse and fund candidates. The oldest of the state-level PACs is the extremely active California Political Action Committee for Animals (PAWPAC). Other increasingly active anti-sportsmen and animal owner PACs include: Connecticut Votes for Animals, Colorado Voters for Animals, Colorado Humane Voters League, Humane/Oregon PAC, Animal Advocacy Connecticut, Animal Protection of New Mexico/Animal Protection Voters, Louisiana League of Humane Voters, League of Humane Voters of New York City, League of Humane Voters of Ohio, League of Humane Voters of Central Pennsylvania, Animal Defenders of Westchester, Humane Voters Council (Washington), Animal Protection PAC (New Jersey), North Carolina Voters for Animal Welfare (NCVAW), Virginia Voters for Animal Welfare (VVAW), Iowa Voters for Companion Animals, Minnesota Voters for Animal Protection, Nevada Voters for Animal Welfare, Animal Legislative Action Network (California), and Farm Sanctuary (New York and California).
These groups continue to press their corporate and personal agendas to end sport hunting, limit fishing, federally license all pet breeding, radically change livestock farming and end animal medical research, circuses, rodeos, and zoos. Local PACs lobby and attempt to pass ballot initiatives against hunting and trapping and have had enormous influence on such draconian anti-pet-breeding laws as southern California's punitive intact-animal licensing ordinance and Albuquerque's omnibus HEART statute, restricting or outlawing all aspects of pet ownership. It would be difficult to exaggerate how much damage Humane USA and its local affiliates and allies can do to hunting and animal ownership interests, using political donations to pave the way.
To explain briefly how a PAC works, Political Action Committee "(PAC)" is a popular term for an IRS recognized group organized for the specific purpose of raising and spending money to elect (pass) and defeat candidates or ballot initiatives. Incumbent politicians' reelections are seldom in doubt, due largely to heavy PAC donations. Such support ensures continued access to politicians, an important lobbying commodity. There are over 4,500 PACs registered with the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and more operating locally in all 50 states. PACs represent business, labor, or ideological interests, and they affect nearly every aspect of American life. Candidates and political parties maintain registered campaign committees. Interest PACs may currently give $5,000 to a federal candidate's committee per election (primary, general, or special).
In principle, ideological interest PACs are simple. They solicit non-tax deductible contributions from individuals who agree with their point of view (POV), screen candidates, donate to those politicians supporting that POV, and pay sizable operating expenses. Every dollar handled by a PAC or a campaign committee must be accounted for quarterly. Large PACs, receiving numerous individual contributions, may file 500 pages per month with the FEC, detailing that name, address and amount data. Services such as Open Secrets summarize federal PAC receipts and disbursements. While federal PACs also report donations to state legislators, they normally aren't summarized online. That raw data may be reviewed at the FEC site.
Operating a PAC, with its high donation solicitation expenses, is very expensive. Out of the 2005-2006 cycle $215,000 receipts through June 30, 2006, Humane USA has contributed $75,000.00 to federal candidates, half to Republicans, half to Democrats. Its largest donations were to Senator Robert Byrd (D-WV) and to Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA), the sponsor of the anti-hunting and anti-breeding PAWS bill. Third quarter PAC reports occasionally contain surprises, such as heavy direct expenditures designed to defeat a targeted candidate. In the 2007-2008 cycle Humane USA spent $354,669 with contributions of $211,855 going directly to federal candidates (77% to Democrats, 22% to Republicans). The top 2008 Humane USA political contributions of $8,000 went to Senator Mary Landrieu (D-LA) and Representative Elton Gallegly (R-CA). 2010 contributions were considerably less with only $123,500 going to federal candidates; however Humane Society Legislative Fund added $55,500 in political contributions and The HSUS spent another $750,826 on various campaigns supporting or opposing candidates. Humane USA PAC has been replaced by the Humane Society Legislative Fund (HSLF). In 2012 HSLF spent over $750,000 in an attempt to defeat Rep. Steve King (R, IA). The top 2012 HSLF recipients were Rep. Earl Blumenauerl (D-OR) and Incumbent Betty Sue Sutton (D-OH) with $10,000 each. HSLF independent expenditures for 2014 totaled $1,003,526. Among the top recipients in the 2014 election cycle were Senator Gary Peters (D-MI) with HSLF spending $640,923 to help his campaign and Senator Jeff Merkley (D-OR) who received $133,301. HSLF spent an additional $282,500 in direct campaign donations. Legislators receiving anti's donations are identified on this website as Animal Rightist Endorsed and Funded.
Is your Washington representative endorsed or funded by HSUS-dominated Humane Society Legislative Fund? Is your state senate or house member listed? Who's contributing to these anti-hunter, animal rightists PACs? Where is the gun owner, hunter, and conservation PAC money going? There over 69 million pet-owning households in the U.S., but there isn't a pet owner PAC. Farm animal owners have several good ones. PACs are serious, expensive, and essential components of interest advocacy.
As resources permit, SAOVA will update the antis' additional pre-election endorsements and post-election PAC filings.
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